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Malaysia Today - Your Source of Independent News

GE13′s chaos, created to manipulate public perception

Posted: 02 May 2013 10:35 PM PDT

(Stop the Lies) - The constant chaos surrounding the on-going 13th General Election are likely orchestrated by a few parties to show that Malaysia is no longer safe under the ruling government.

University Utara Malaysia's (UUM) political analyst Mohamad Faisol Keling said these attempts were planned to create negative perceptions against the ruling government and the authorities such as the police and armed forces.

Citing the Lahad Datu intrusion as an example, he further said: "The intrusion was planned to happen at a time when we are heading towards GE13 as an attempt to show incompetency on the part of the government in handling the issue.

"There are hidden hands from the local as well as foreigners who are contributing to the incident. It is almost impossible that the terrorist could ever penetrate into our district without having assistance from these culprits," he told The Mole.

Other examples said Mohamad Faisol were the bombing incident in Barisan Nasional's (BN) election operation centre in Nibong Tebal, Penang and the torching down of another centre in Kelana Jaya, Selangor.

"These incidents have opened a new dimension to our political environment. The attempt to create chaos is something that authorities have to deal with transparently and effectively.

"And don't forget that sensitive issues like religion and defense, which previously were rarely politicised, are now being openly used as a part of the propaganda," he said further.

Blogger Syed Akbar Ali, well known for his blog Outsyed The Box, has been constantly highlighting the possibilities of chaos erupting during the GE13.

"So many violent things are happening in quick succession over the past few days. All this provides easy pickings for those who want to portray the country as unsafe.

"Sounds cold hearted but obviously there are cold hearted people around. The same sort of people who can engineer the Sabah intrusion. Anything seems halal with these people," the blogger wrote further.

Former DAP vice-chairman Tunku Abdul Aziz Abdul Ibrahim had also warned that a few NGOs were planning to cause trouble on polling day (on May 5).

Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) founder Ng Lum Yong who had since left the party, also claimed that something had been planned within the last four days before polling day.

He said that a serious incident might be planned as a last resort for the opposition to raise sympathy and garner instant votes in the last minute.

Pas deputy president Mohamad Sabu had "warned" that Malaysians will spark something similar to the 'Arab Spring' should the Pakatan Rakyat lose, a situation they qualified would only happen if fraud was committed by the Election Commission and BN.

A few political observers said this pre-emptive measure is a ploy to manipulate the situation that might arise if Pakatan fails win Putrajaya.


BN, Pakatan in dead heat for Election 2013

Posted: 02 May 2013 08:03 PM PDT

(TMI) - Barisan Nasional (BN) and Pakatan Rakyat (PR) are almost evenly tied to win Election 2013 with the economy the main issue ahead of the May 5 general elections, according to a survey by the Merdeka Center for Opinion Research.

The respected pollster found that 42 per cent of the voters surveyed agreed that PR should be given a chance to govern the country against 41 per cent who felt only BN should govern Malaysia.

It added that four per cent of the voters refused to respond while 13 per cent of the voters said they "did not know".

"Based on the survey results and the assumption that the election is free and fair, we estimate that neither Barisan Nasional nor Pakatan Rakyat were in the lead as at 9:30pm on May 2, 2013," Merdeka Center said in a statement this evening.

The survey was carried out by the Merdeka Center for Opinion Research between 9:00am on April 28 and 9.30pm on May 2, involving 1,600 registered voters comprising 59 per cent Malay, 32 per cent Chinese and nine per cent Indian respondents who were interviewed by telephone in the poll.

BN leaders have expressed confidence of doing better than Election 2008, saying their election machinery has been working hard to canvass votes in both rural and urban areas to ensure its unbroken rule since independence in 1957.

The BN also believes it can snare 142 seats, counting on what its officials say was a swing towards the coalition in the last 24 hours in its traditional vote bank of Sabah and Sarawak.

Leaders from both coalitions have been racing across the country in the past two weeks to speak at rallies, exhorting party workers to campaign harder and persuading fence sitters for their votes.

Based on the outcome of the survey and with a three per cent margin of error, the Merdeka Center said BN could pick up a total of 85 seats against 89 by PR with 46 seats still a toss-up between both coalitions.

Two other seats in Sabah and Sarawak would go to other parties, it added.

The Merdeka Center survey released today also found that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak's approval ratings has slipped the few days from polling day to 61 per cent from 64 per cent in the last survey conducted  from March 12 to 17 this year.

"In our opinion this figure reflects the slide in the so-called "feel good" factor generated by the large scale distribution of Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia (BR1M) and such cash handouts targeting various sectors of the electorate," the pollster said.

It said that concerns over the economy at 25 per cent topped the list of issues voters wanted to hear discussed or debated during the election followed by matters pertaining to administration and leadership at nine per cent, social issues and public safety seven per cent, race-related issues seven per cent and corruption at six per cent.

Some 13.3 million Malaysians, including 5,200 abroad, are eligible to cast ballots for the 222 federal and 505 state seats, excluding Sarawak's 71 state seats which were decided in 2011.


Allegation of phantom voters is absurd: Association

Posted: 02 May 2013 04:34 PM PDT

(Bernama) - It is absurd. That's the opinion of many quarters about the PKR-DAP-PAS pact's allegation that Barisan Nasional (BN) has transported over 40,000 phantom voters from Sabah and other countries to Peninsular Malaysia to ensure victory in the 13th general election.

"How is it possible to transport phantom voters from Sabah to other states?" Kuala Lumpur Sabah Children Association president Datin Saidatul Badru Tun Said Keruak said when contacted by Bernama.

She said it was impossible for any quarters to transport human beings like they were some kind of consumer products, especially when the number was huge.

"For me, the allegation was purposely raised by the PKR-DAP-PAS pact because they have no other issues to use in their bid to fish for votes. They were just looking and waiting for the chance to raise it."

She said this in response to the recent allegation made by Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim that there was an attempt to transport phantom voters from Sabah to Selangor.

Meanwhile, Umno Information chief Datuk Ahmad Maslan said the allegation made by the three-party opposition alliance was aimed at making their supporters angry.

"Umno and BN are not that stupid to carry out a big operation like that," he told Bernama when contacted.

Ahmad said the allegation was made with the intention to show as if the Election Commission (EC) was not transparent in conducting the 13th polls, when all names of registered voters had been checked and verified.

Senator Datuk S. Nallakarupan, who is also former ally of PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, said Anwar was known as the person who would continue accusing and blaming the BN in whatever situation, even when the BN was proven right.

"All he thinks about is to become prime minister and to bring the BN down. Nothing else," he said.

In their allegation, the PKR-DAP-PAS pact said that there was an increase in the number of chartered flights, including using Boeing 747 and army aircraft, from Kuching and Kota Kinabalu to the KL International Airport and other airports in the peninsula.

At his press conference yesterday, Anwar, who showed a copy of an email containing flight schedules and names of the alleged phantom voters, accused the EC of cooperating with government agencies and the national carrier in the operation.

Anwar, who refused to reveal the identity of the email sender, also said that phantom voters were also being brought into the country through several entry points, such as Bukit Kayu Hitam and Port Klang.


Pakatan will not be corruption free, says Surendran

Posted: 02 May 2013 04:22 PM PDT

(The Edge) - In a spell of refreshing honesty, PKR vice president and Padang Serai candidate N. Surendran admitted that Pakatan Rakyat members were fallible and will make mistakes if they were to assume the federal seat of power.

"I will never say Pakatan will be corruption free," he told .

"There will always be bad hats. We are not perfect and we are not angels.

"We are just ordinary human beings trying to make a difference. We are fallible, I am sure we are going to make mistakes," the lawyer added.

However, he said, the striking difference between Pakatan and Barisan Nasional (BN) is the opposition coalition's commitment to challenge the status quo in the nation and free it from the shackles of an inhibited system.

"The difference between us and BN is that we are committed to free Malaysia - abolish all draconian laws - giving the people of this country a real voice in the running of government, to make sure the people are the boss and uplift the economy," he said.

"That is the core principle that PAS, PKR and DAP share."

The fight for Padang Serai

Surendran is up for a five-cornered fight in vying for the Padang Serai Parliamentary seat. The constituency has 74,245 voters. Malays constitute 55.5% or 41,223 voters, Chinese make up 21.4% (15,925 voters) and Indians comprise 16,736 voters (22.5%).

He views his main opponent as Wanita MCA vice-chairperson Datuk Heng Seai Kie and does not see Berjasa's Hamidi Abu Hassan, as well as independents Othman Wawi and incumbent N Gobalakrishnan as threats.

Gobalakrishnan - a former MIC youth leader - had quit PKR in 2011 to become an independent saying he lost faith in the party leadership.

The constituency is stifled by abject poverty, with a majority of Malays and Indians unable to break free from the cycle of poverty.

"When you go to a semi-rural area such as Padang Serai, it (poverty) hits you like a blow in the face.

"Everybody is earning RM1,000, RM900, RM800 and there are so many children. There seems to be no future for them. They can't get out of it," Surendran said.

He said lack of access to good education is the crux of cyclical poverty.

"Parents cannot afford good education so children grow up with lack of education and they end up in menial jobs or low-skilled labour.

"One example is a 71-year-old Malay gentleman who has worked in a factory all his life and he can't walk properly.

"He can't get aid from the Welfare Department because they say he's got two children he can depend on. But his two adult children earn RM600 and RM700 respectively," he added.

Surendran has been serving Padang Serai for two years, gauging the woes of the people and helping out where he can. He is self-deprecating, saying his help is minimum and at an ad-hoc basis.

"These cases range from applying for aid from Welfare Department to sorting out identification documents like red identity cards and birth certificates," he added.

Surendran thinks winning the Parliament seat is the real ticket to helping Padang Serai in placing a voice in the halls of power, verbalising the people's woes.

He said Pakatan's policies encapsulated in its manifesto will be able to stymie poverty.

Free education, affordable housing, reduction in the price of goods and the abolition of tolls are all policies that would be able to address poverty but he emphasised that a national policy is the crucial panacea.

He said the federal government has largely ignored dealing with the root cause of poverty and in fact, have been denying there is a serious problem. 

"The government has been cooking the books saying there is only 1.7% poverty in the country. It would make us the most poverty-less country on Earth.

"It is absurd. Japan has a poverty rate of 15.7%," Surendran said, adding Pakatan's estimate places the national poverty rate at 19%.

He also said another major problem is the lack of a municipal council in the constituency which could potentially change the fate of its residents.

"The area has no town centre. It shares it with Kulim. There is also no local council which affects delivery of services, subsequently affecting investments.

"Investment into Padang Serai would increase wealth and well-being of the people," he added.

Of opponents and weaknesses

On his candidature, Surendran said he is confident of winning the seat judging by the reception he receives from the locals.

He does not see a tendency to be perceived as an upper-class Indian to be factored in as a weakness.

"I have been working on ground issues since 1998, taking up the people's issues. People see me as someone who they can come to with their problems.

"I speak fluent Tamil. There were some false statements circulated by political opponents that I can't speak fluent Tamil when I was appointed as party vice president.

"When it was found I could speak fluent Tamil, then it was no longer an issue," he said.

He said his main opponent's (Heng) weakness, is the party and coalition she is affiliated with, which impedes her potential to implement change.

"From the word go, she's already tied down, she can't move. MCA has hardly any say in the BN government; it has lost public support; and it is constrained by BN's system.

"The BN system is apathetic to the people's concerns and it favours the rich cronies.

"As an individual I have nothing against her. But if she wants to make a real difference, I think she's in the wrong party and coalition," he said with a grin.

He was caught off-guard when asked about his weakness and gave three separate answers at different times.

"I think it is the lack of time to visit the people in Padang Serai, to get into the centre of it."

His second response: "They say I'm a bit too idealistic. People say it is a weakness."

Finally, he said: "It is for someone else to say, I leave it up to the people."


Three ‘bombs’ found at DAP campaign site

Posted: 02 May 2013 04:12 PM PDT

Police detonated the explosive devices which were packed in a box.

K Pragalath, FMT

Police detonated three explosive devices after removing them from a DAP election campaign site in Jinjang Utara, Kepong, here, this morning.

The devices were packed in a box with a warning: "Awas. Bom" (Caution: Bomb).

Incumbent Kepong MP Dr Tan Seng Giaw (DAP) said he received a call from the Kepong DAP branch chairman at 5.30am informing him about the discovery of the three explosive devices.

"I initially thought it was a hoax but it turned out to be real. We proceeded to make a police report," he said when contacted today.

"An hour later, a police bomb detonation squad arrived and took the devices to another area and detonate them," he said.

Tan also condemned the violence.

"This is totally unacceptable. It is not the way to knock off your opponent. We practise parliamentary democracy… Let the people decide [in this general election]," he said.



Is Malaysia's UMNO Era at its End?

Posted: 02 May 2013 02:33 PM PDT


Apparently at Mahathir's urging, Najib installed a man who has ridiculed Hindu religious beliefs, Perkasa vice president Zulkifli Noordin, as a candidate in the suburban city of Shah Alam. He also engineered the candidacy of Perkasa head Ibrahim Ali, in Kelantan by having the UMNO candidate drop out of the race.  

John Berthelsen, Asia Sentinel 

Corruption, race and public weariness combine to give the opposition a real chance

If the Barisan Nasional coalition loses the national elections on Sunday and has to relinquish its 57-year stranglehold on Malaysian politics, the seeds of the defeat were sown well before the last polls in 2008, when a rag-tag opposition of three disparate parties with no real affinity for each other did better than anybody thought they would.

The opposition has grown stronger since then and at stake this time around is the future of Malaysia. The country could - could - be moving from being a virtual one-party state in which the ruling elite controls government, the media and business to finally joining the ranks of Asia's more open democracies. If it happens, the United Malays National Organization, the biggest ethnic party in the coalition, has only itself to blame. 

In 2008, UMNO's old bulls blamed then-Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi for the debacle at the polls and drove him from power. Pushed by the increasingly splenetic former Premier Mahathir Mohamad, they installed one of their own, Najib Tun Razak, in his place. He can now be expected to extend his neck for political execution, win or lose.

The power brokers thought that Badawi had veered too far from the old ways of doing things. But the truth was that he hadn't veered far enough. He set out to close some of the white elephant projects Mahathir had put in place and which cost the country tens of billions of dollars. He tried to implement rational and transparent contracting procedures and to appoint a relatively independent judiciary. And when he began to seriously threaten some of Mahathir's misguided industrialization schemes, the party elite came down on Badawi and he backed away.

The general public saw what was happening and wanted reform. The opposition, made up of the ethnic Chinese Democratic Action Party, the rural-based, Islamist Parti Islam se-Malaysia and Anwar Ibrahim's urban-based Parti Keadilan Rakyat, almost won the popular vote despite a lack of cohesiveness. They ran what candidates they could, some of whom who had left UMNO not out of principle but because they were jealous at being left out of the trough. Many of them departed after the 2008 election because they found there was no golden goose to pluck.

This time around, the opposition candidates are better, the coalition more cohesive. And the Barisan didn't learn its lesson after losing its crucial two-thirds parliamentary majority in 2008. The Cattlegate scandal, in which the family of UMNO women's wing leader Shahrizat Abdul Jalil misused millions of ringgit from a soft loan designated to establish a cattle feeding program, is a good example. But there are others. Asia Sentinel received a long email from a Chinese businessman who wanted to establish an operation to sell pork to merchants. He figured he could do it cheaper and more efficiently than the existing suppliers. But he was frozen out because a cartel run by the Malaysian Chinese Association had its favored rent-seeking pork suppliers. There are dozens of these small cartels.

In the end, it comes down to economics. Why has Malaysia, with a well-educated work-force, extensive infrastructure and abundant natural resources, not been able to break out of the middle income trap? The comparison with Singapore, just across the Causeway, is devastating. Per capita income by purchasing power parity is US$60,900 in Singapore against US$12,900 in Malaysia.It is largely because of the New Economic Policy, an affirmative action program for the majority ethnic Malays, which has hobbled business for decades, and these insider deals, big and small, which have multiplied.There is hardly a medium-level business transaction, let alone a major one, in which someone close to the Barisan isn't standing there with his hand out, and favored businessmen aren't there to fill it. 

When roads are built, they are built, often badly and vastly over cost, by Barisan companies, most of them UMNO-linked. There has been a long continuing controversy over the delivery of water in Selangor, the rich, populous state that surrounds the federal capital of Kuala Lumpur. The opposition, which controls the state, refuses to honor the contract given by the previous Barisan administration to a favored company, saying the firm dramatically overcharges consumers. 

Read more at: http://www.asiasentinel.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=5383&Itemid=178 


Punters in Sabah betting on polls position

Posted: 02 May 2013 01:09 PM PDT

Gamblers are also reportedly betting heavily in Beaufort and odds are up for Lajim to win.

Luke Rintod, FMT

KOTA KINABALU: Gamblers and political punters are having a field day in Sabah. They are taking bets for hot seats or hot fights.

Insiders information said topping the list for a flutter are those involving the fights of heavyweights like Yong Teck Lee, Joseph Pairin Kitingan, Bernard Dompok and the straight fight in Sandakan involving LDP's VK Liew.

The odds are various and varied, they said. The amount of betting is from as small as10 sen, for kampung boys, to millions of ringgits for the big time gamblers.

The avid punters are betting heavily for an "obvious" result and still taking other bets, to offset any surprises.

Favourite betting is on "whether Yong could win or not in Likas" his old state seats when he was still a chief minister in the mid '90s.

This time, the president of now opposition SAPP, is involved in a four-cornered fight that could determine his political future.

Yong faces a formidable DAP, the BN coalition and a late comer STAR in Likas.

Another favourite bet is on the Sandakan parliamentary seat where a the only straight fight is being slugged out between Liew of the BN and Wong Tien Fatt of DAP.

It is not known if syndicates could use the betting to influence the results for the seats but the heavy betting could have an impact. Some voters are said to be prepared to vote and campaign for parties based on their bets.

The fight between the Kitingan brothers in Keningau is a big draw. In the kampungs, boys are openly betting, small and medium, on which of the two, Pairin or Jeffrey, would come out as victor on Sunday.

There are also bets being placed on whether the third contender for Keningau, Stephen Sandor of PKR, would lose or not his election fee of RM15,000.

Under Malaysian law, a contender for election would lose his deposit if he or she failed to get less than one eight of the votes cast.

Heavy bets on Lajim

Gamblers are also taking bets on the number of majority votes, either Pairin or Jeffrey would win Keningau. Some are betting on a below 1,000 votes bet, while others on a over 3,000 bet.

They are varied and carried in such a way that it has become a lucrative activity for some in the district.



Cybertroopers stooping low with personal attacks and wild accusations

Posted: 02 May 2013 12:51 PM PDT

(The Star) - Ugly cybertroopers have gone on an overdrive with personal attacks and wild accusations as campaigning enters its final leg before polling this Sunday.

The "cyber overkill" has seen a sharp increase in the number of hate mail, doctored pictures and rumour-mongering to destroy candidates before voters head to the polls.

With just two days of campaigning left, accusations and name-calling using vulgar language abound as the fight for influence gets dirtier.

Some attacks have been inciting anger by flaring racial sentiments.

Centre for Public Policy Studies chairman Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam regretted that personal attacks were replacing mature comment.

"Most discussions are on personalities and not on issues. Before we vote, we want to know what issues are being raised by both sides," he said, warning that negative postings could result in a backlash.

Computer security specialist Dinesh Nair said people should verify the allegations they read online.

"Be sensible. There are lot of things being put online. Take it with a bag of salt and use your common sense. If something seems unreal, then most probably it is," he added.

Syed Azidi Syed Abdul Aziz, who blogs as Kickdefella, noted that things had changed since he started his website.

Some examples of cyberspace rumour mongering/slander passed via email and text messages. Some examples of cyberspace rumour mongering/slander passed via email and text messages.

"Then, it was all about expressing ourselves," he said. "Now it is about dictating to others what to believe, like in the case of Michelle Yeoh. If you allow those who attacked her to rule, they will become dictators."

He said he himself had been attacked a lot for his views.

"If I keep reading everything they say (about me), it won't be good for my health, heart and mind," he added.

Umno Youth new media unit chairman Tun Faisal Ismail Aziz said Barisan Nasional had its own "cyber activists" with some 3,000 trained to disseminate information on the coalition's programmes and achievements on social media platforms, including Facebook and Twitter.

"They are also tasked with countering opposition allegations."

He said the opposition cybertroopers had gone overboard.

"For example, if a Barisan-friendly video is uploaded on YouTube, they would not just click the dislike button but also post hateful comments and even flag' the video so that it is taken down."

Also widely reported is the Red Bean Army' whose aim was reportedly to "assassinate characters online". Some have said it belonged to DAP.

But DAP national organising secretary Anthony Loke denied this, claiming that the party did not even have cybertroopers.

According to party publicity chief Tony Pua, DAP only had an online team responsible for setting up its Facebook page.

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin described the claims made via SMSes that outsiders were being brought in to vote in the general election as "just absurd".

"The allegations are part of a psychological warfare to make voters believe Pakatan Rakyat is winning," he said after addressing a gathering at Taman Tas in Kuantan yesterday.

"Barisan is actually making a major leap in a lot of places and Pakatan, feeling pressured, is sending out such SMSes."


DAP’s ‘Red Bean Army’ firing on all cylinders

Posted: 02 May 2013 12:41 PM PDT

(The Star) - DAP has been training cybertroopers for six years and now the party boasts the biggest number of online troopers dubbed the "Red Bean Army" numbering in the thousands, former Klang DAP Youth chief Shen Yee Aun said.

He claimed the cybertroopers, who are paid well, were trained to hack pro-government websites and social media sites.

It is alleged that the Red Bean Army has between 2,000 and 3,000 members, whose purpose is to launch attacks on any pro-government messages as well as spreading unfounded allegations.

The army's reach could extend to 60,000 through postings in Facebook, Twitter and other social media websites.

Shen said the messages would then be spread as fast as possible with the aim of instilling hatred and mistrust toward the government.

He said the main operations centres for the Red Bean Army were located in Penang and Kuala Lumpur.

"The cybertroopers would also threaten people to achieve their objective. Their modus operandi is to create fiction, manipulate information as well as attack and ridicule the government.

"Even those seen to support the government would be victimised. These cybertroopers are spreading politics of hate," he said.

Shen cited examples of local model Leng Yein, who was victimised by the Red Bean Army, just because she spoke against the Kedah Government's dress code for mo- dels.

Even celebrities, including Michele Yeoh, Jackie Chan and Azhar Sulaiman have not been spared from their attacks.

Umno Youth's new media unit chairman Tun Faisal Ismail Aziz said the lies spread by the opposition had become nasty and slanderous as polling day drew nearer.

"We learnt from the 2008 election experience that we cannot let them just spread lies.

"We are fighting the opposition on their own turf through our cyber activists. We are lagging behind but at least our presence in the cyber world is felt," he said.


PAS supporters disrupt PSM ceramah

Posted: 02 May 2013 12:34 PM PDT

Angry supporters disrupt ceramah after PAS makes way to PSM to contest Kota Damansara state seat.

Lisa J. Ariffin, FMT

A Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) ceramah was disrupted by angry PAS supporters who were unhappy with their party's decision to give way to PSM contest the Kota Damansara state seat.

The group of 20 unhappy PAS supporters yesterday stormed PSM's Kota Damansara ceramah – which featured PAS secretary-general Mustafa Ali – and demanded their leader to denounce PSM candidate Mohd Nasir Hashim.

Nasir, who is the incumbent, will be contesting under the PKR logo.

"PAS tidak menyokong sosialis (PAS do not support socialists)!" they chanted, brandishing hand-painted banners in support of PAS' candidate for Kota Damansara, Ridzuan Ismail.

However, Mustafa brushed their presence aside and called for Pakatan Rakyat to unite as a coalition to support Nasir, who is also PSM chief.

"Let them be. The rest of us must unite to defeat the common enemy, which is Umno and Barisan Nasional," Mustafa told the audience.

The disgruntled PAS supporters then retorted with: "We are not against PAS and PKR, we are against PSM!"

Following Mustafa's address, the group walked away from the ceramah and called for "all those who have faith" to boycott Nasir's speech.

"Don't listen to a socialist," they said, leaving the venue and holding up their banners from across the road.

However, the group dispersed peacefully after being approached by plain-clothes policemen who told them they were not allowed to rally without a permit.

"We have made our point," a member of the group said, before walking away.

Nasir had initially wanted to recontest his seat under PSM's banner after the party was officially registered after the 2008 general election.

However, PKR had insisted PSM contest under its ticket as per their arrangement in 2008. PSM eventually gave in to PKR over the matter but faced another complication when PAS fielded its own candidate on nomination day.

Last week, PAS finally backed down on the three-cornered fight to allow Mohd Nasir to tackle BN in a straight fight.


Goldman in Malaysia: know your client

Posted: 02 May 2013 12:23 PM PDT


(Financial Times) - So, your reputation has taken a battering in recent years and you're now just about out of the spotlight. And, even if you're not deeply loved, at least most people have got bored of calling you the Vampire Squid.


What do you? A: Try to ensure you do everything you can to keep your nose clean and stay away from controversy? Or B: Take on what looks like a highly lucrative private bond deal for a government-linked entity in Malaysia, barely a month ahead of what is expected to be the closest fought election since elections began in the late 1950s.


If you're Goldman Sachs, the answer is… B! The question is: why?


Some in the bank might now be asking this after it attracted some sharp criticism from the political opposition in Malaysia over a $3bn bond deal it arranged for an entity called 1MDB at the end of March.


To recap briefly, the entity in question – a British Virgin Islands-registered, Malaysian government-controlled fund – raised capital by selling $3bn worth of unrated bonds to Goldman for just $2.71bn, or 90 cents on the dollar. The bonds eventually got a public rating from S&P, "A-", the same as Malaysia's government debt rating – leaving the bank with some heavily discounted bonds, significantly boosting their effective interest rate yield. Even before discounting, these bonds carry a coupon that yields a full 1 percentage point more than Malaysian sovereign bonds in the market.


The lower the yield you can resell at, the higher the price you'll get for the bonds. You don't have to be Bill Gross to see there's more than a little bit of value there.


1MDB has already attracted its own controversy. It has faced questions over the fate of proceeds from its exit of an earlier joint venture with PetroSaudi International. Last week, the fund issued a statement slamming any allegations as baseless and politically motivated – read the statement here.


So, what attracted Goldman to this trade?




Integrity fears as watershed elections approach

Posted: 02 May 2013 12:17 PM PDT


(Australian News Network) - A local election commentator says Malaysia's political landscape "will never be the same" after the polls on Sunday, no matter who wins.

Edmund Bon vs Wan Ahmad Wan Omar 


Edmund Bon, Malaysian human rights lawyer and Loyar Buruk blog contributor, has told Radio Australia's Asia Pacific fears about the integrity of the polling process persist.

Malaysia's election commission is under fire for not acting more decisively about the reported failure of indelible ink to be used on voters' fingers.

Allegations of planned fraud have been also levelled against the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition.

But deputy chairman of the Malaysian Election Commission Wan Ahmad Wan Omar has rejected the allegations.

BON: We have been warning of these allegations or these events for some time back, when Bersih raised these issues. So we heard about this for the first time on the internet, and I think these allegations (of phantom voters) are now being verified by NGOs. The unfortunate thing of course, is that the EC (Election Commission) has lost much of its credibility and whatever it says now, that it (BN govt) is not flying in these so-called foreign people, it's really something that we cannot accept at face value. So it needs to verified, but resources are very thin on the ground, and I think the Opposition is trying to get the (flight) manifests and more details on that.

LAM: Has there been a response from the Election Commission of Malaysia?

BON: Ya, the Election Commission has said that they (the government) are not doing such things. It's just a bare denial, but I think the Opposition has said that they have proof of manifests and some details. So we will have to wait and see. In fact, there's news from the ground and even on Twitter, where Indonesians or Bangladeshis are saying to their friends, that they're actually going to vote on the 5th of May, which is very shocking. And you don't have ordinary Malaysians lying about it. There's really no reason for them to tweet about it and lie about it. And as I read this on Twitter, it gets more and more depressing.

LAM: But how are we to know that these are not gremlins that were put there by agents provocateurs, if you like?

BON: Ya, I think alot of these people we know from Twitter are our friends, and there is some credibility to what they say. And some of them are just ordinary people, who're coming to vote for the first time, who have no interest - many of them are fence-sitters at the moment. So it's very surprising that I'm reading about this and hearing about this.

LAM: What about this issue of indelible ink? Turns out that the ink might not be as indelible after all. Is that cause for concern?

BON: Definitely. I think the EC has tried to justify it in two ways. The first is that election officers did not shake the bottle, so the ink that was used does not have the proper 'content' to be indelible. The second reason given is that if you use a magnifying glass, you can see that the ink has seeped into your finger nails. These are again reasons which just boggle the mind, because you don't expect election officials who're supposed to be trained in using the ink, not to know these things. And does it mean now, that every election officer has to have a magnifying glass to go through everybody's finger nails?

LAM: With such suspicions and cynicism in the lead up to Sunday, what do you make of Opposition assertions that if they lose, then there must be an element of fraud involved. Do you think such statements might make for a very tensed atmosphere?

BON: It's already very tensed on the ground, I think, especially among the political parties. We've been going on the ceramahs (political gatherings) as NGOs and talking to different people, and we can see there's a great amount anticipation, especially for first-time voters on Sunday.

We hope that there'll be no political violence. We've seen some instances. We hope that everybody will keep rational. But we do not know what will happen because this is probably the first time in our history that the ruling coalition is being challenged to this extent.

LAM: And Edmund, you mentioned 'ceramahs' the political gatherings they're holding all over Malaysia during this campaigning period - and you've attended a few - indeed, given talks yourself. What impressed you most in what you've seen so far in the two weeks of campaigning?

BON: You're seeing for the first time, alot of young voters coming out, many first-time voters, fence-sitters. And the issues that we've been talking about, about removing ethnic identification from the registration forms, talking about civil and political rights, are really sinking in with them. And they're coming not just to be part of the atmosphere, but they're coming to really listen and get more information.

Apart from the usual political speeches they want to hear, they want to talk about it (the issues). And it's very surprising, I think to see many, many people coming out. You have numbers from 500 onwards, almost every night, to 1,500 in small centres, and you can see of course in Johor, even in rural areas, people are coming out.

LAM: You wear many hats of course, and one of them, apart from being a human rights lawyer, is involvement in the voter awareness campaign, UNDI MALAYSIA, that's one of the initiatives you were invovled in. Looking at the past fortnight, do you think Malaysians are fully engaged in the political process?

BON: We're more engaged in the process, and we definitely want more people to be politically-aware. Unfortunately, our education system does not allow for that kind of awareness at an early age. But I think this is the first time you've seen people much more aware, due to alot of differnt acts of dissent - Bersih (the campaign for free and fair elections), HINDRAF (Hindu rights group) rallies, that has ignited the imagination of the youth for a new Malaysia.

I come from a non-partisan position and I only speak about human rights issues - so we speak of issues like deaths in custody, we talk about corruption, the income and inequalities - these are facts and these are matters which are very basic to everyone. We just simplify the messages - we say there're problems with the Constitution where power is concentrated in only a few (members of the) elite. These are things that Malaysians want to hear, and they want to know how we can do things to change, and these barriers towards making Malaysia a more developed country.

LAM: What is the impression that you get from Malaysians - it's been reported Malaysians are ready for change - but do you think Malaysians can sense change on the horizon, whether it's under the BN or under the Pakatan Rakyat?

BON: I think the political landscape of Malaysia will never be the same again. It depends on who you speak to. Of course, the urban centres have always been talking about this change. And even if they don't facts to back it up, they're saying, you can't have a monopoly of one party for fifty over years.

The rural areas are much more difficult to read because there're alot of cash handouts, a lot of different tactics and the education levels are a bit lower than the urban centres. So these are the differences that we need to take into account.

Listen to the podcasts at: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-05-02/political-landscape-will-never-be-the-same/4666546?section=australianetworknews 

Malaysia Risks Post-Election Protests on Bias Claims

Posted: 02 May 2013 12:13 PM PDT


(Bloomberg) - Malaysia faces the risk of public protests over the accuracy of results from the May 5 national election after an opposition-backed group cited evidence of vote buying and bias by the official ballot oversight agency.

The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections, known as Bersih, has captured vote-buying on video and received complaints ranging from improper electoral rolls to government abuse of state-run media, according to co-chairwoman Ambiga Sreenevasan. The group, whose protests in recent years have drawn thousands of people onto Kuala Lumpur's streets, has yet to decide on organizing demonstrations, she said this week.

A contested result between Prime Minister Najib Razak's ruling coalition and Anwar Ibrahim's opposition alliance threatens to spark protests in a country that has never seen a transfer of power since independence from Britain in 1957. A tight finish would be the worst outcome for Malaysian stocks because it would lead to policy paralysis and may end Najib's tenure, Bank of America Merrill Lynch analysts said this week.

"Anything over a 15-to-20 seat victory margin will lead to suspicion -- the race is that close," said Bridget Welsh, associate professor of political science at Singapore Management University, who has edited two books on Malaysian politics. "You're going to see people on the streets" if election observers produce solid evidence of fraud, she said.

Read more at: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-05-02/malaysia-risks-post-election-protests-as-group-cites-vote-buying.html 

Malaysia's close-fought election - The Penang effect

Posted: 02 May 2013 12:08 PM PDT


Watch the video at: The Economist 

THE story of Lim Guan Eng, chief minister of the Malaysian state of Penang, tells much about how Malaysian politics has been transformed in recent years. Mr Lim heads the Democratic Action Party or DAP, a member of the three-party opposition coalition hoping to wrest power from the ruling Barisan Nasional in a general election on May 5th. 

This is the first time since independence from Britain in 1957 that the opposition has a genuine—if still outside—chance of winning a federal-government election. That follows its startling advance in the previous general election in 2008, when, as this year, 12 of Malaysia's 13 states held simultaneous elections. One of the opposition's triumphs was to win the thriving state of Penang, an island off the west coast famous for its electronics and tourism industries.

So Mr Lim took up perhaps the highest-profile establishment position ever held by an opposition politician in Malaysia. This was quite a step up from his past as a jailbird. In 1998 he was sentenced to 18 months in prison for "sedition" and "spreading false news". The offence dated back to 1995 when he spoke out about a case in which a 15-year-old girl named 15 men with whom she had had sex. Of these 14 were charged with statutory rape. The 15th, a senior politician, was not.

Such apparent injustices seemed to run in his family. His father, Lim Kit Siang, also led the DAP, which draws most of its support from Malaysia's ethnic-Chinese minority. He was twice jailed under Malaysia's Internal Security Act, first in 1969, after the country suffered its worst race riots, and again in 1987 when the authoritarian prime minister of the time, Mahathir Mohamad, used a row about Chinese-language education as a pretext to lock up dozens of critics. Dr Mahathir was impervious to foreign criticism of this act of repression, and a decade later, equally indifferent to the international outrage at Lim Guan Eng's fate.

The elder Mr Lim is also back on the stump for this election, contesting a seat in one of  Barisan's strongholds, the southern state of Johor. The Lims are able to point to Penang to counter one of the government's most strident arguments: that the opposition is untested in office, rash in its promises and  its victory would be followed by a collapse in investor confidence. In fact, under the DAP, Penang has impressed outside observers. The opposition's confidence that it will win the federal election may be for show. But the certainty the DAP expresses about retaining Penang seems real. 

Watch the video at: http://www.economist.com/blogs/banyan/2013/04/malaysias-close-fought-election?fsrc=scn/tw/te/bl/thepenangeffect 


Salahuddin’s campaign losing steam

Posted: 02 May 2013 12:07 PM PDT

A random survey by FMT shows that Malay voters are generally backing BN, thus making it an uphill task for Salahuddin to win. 

Leven Woon, FMT

PAS vice-president Salahuddin Ayub's campaign in the Pulai parliamentary constituency is faltering with polling only two days away.

His confidence of scoring a victory in his first venture in Johor looks increasingly dim because support appears to be swinging to Barisan Nasional.

A random survey by FMT in Pulai shows that most of the Malay voters interviewed, except those with land problems, are backing BN and its incumbent MP Nur Jazlan Mohamed in the race to the May 5 polls.

The survey done on May 1 found that Salahuddin has garnered some support in former squatter areas thanks to his championing of land rights, but his influence there is limited.

His support is quite strong among the Chinese and Indians, but some of them complained that they have yet to see him in person after more than 10 days of campaigning.

There are 100,695 voters in Pulai, of whom Malays made up the majority (47%), followed by Chinese (41%) and Indians (10%).

Based on rough calculations, even if Salahuddin manages to obtain 25% of the Malay votes, 70% Chinese votes and 50% Indian votes, he would only poll 36,611 votes, which is 5,619 shy from what Nur Jazlan would get (42,230).

To turn the table on BN, the opposition candidate would need another 10% swing of either Chinese or Malay votes to Pakatan.

He would then clinch the seat by a mere 886-majority vote (with 80% Chinese votes) or 1,843-majority vote (with 35% Malay votes).

'Where is Salahuddin?'

Another way Salahuddin can capture the seat is to increase his vote tally by 5% across the board from all races, thus giving him 40,557 votes against Nur Jazlan's 38,383.

The calculations are based on a voter turnout of 80%.

But Salahuddin may still find it tough to achieve this target going by the responses of the man in the street.

For Mohd Hairul Tomok, 38, who operates a restaurant in the urban area of Pulai, his vote is going to BN.

He said he would definitely vote for BN because it has been his family tradition to support the ruling coalition.

Moreover, he said, Nur Jazlan is someone who performs, citing an instance where he obtained funds for his business with the MP's help.

And Salahuddin? Said Hairul: " I have never seen him working on the ground before."

Foodstall operator Mohd Farid Zulkifli, 29, and lorry driver K Mahindran, 45, also share the same views. They both praised Nuz Jazlan, describing him as an approachable man, who has helped solve many problems in their constituency such as getting damaged roads repaired.

"Look at Kelantan: PAS can't even manage Kelantan well, so how can they run the country? There are so many Kelantanese who came to Johor to work," said Farid.

Mahindran said he has no confidence in the Pakatan manifesto which promises to provide a number of things for free.

A businessman, who only wished to be known as Koh, 42, said he would not cast his ballot for Salahuddin although he is an opposition supporter.

"Yes, we must have more opposition members so as to have check and balance. But I have never seen him [Salahuddin] before. If he wants my vote, he should at least show up," he said.



Not enough reforms for GE13

Posted: 02 May 2013 12:06 PM PDT


(The Nut Graph) - To what extent have Bersih 2.0's demands for a clean, free and fair election been met? What new measures have been introduced thus far as Malaysia heads to the polls on 5 May 2013, and are they good enough? 

THE Coalition for Clean, Free and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0) had eight demands to ensure that the 13th general election since Malaya's independence (GE13) would be democratic and legitimate in its outcome.

In the midst of the GE13 campaign, it is timely to critically review the state of these demands. To what extent have Bersih 2.0's demands for a clean, free and fair election been met? What new measures have been introduced thus far as Malaysia heads to the polls on 5 May 2013, and are they good enough?

Bullet - orange circle Clean the electoral roll

The electoral roll is, at the very least, still marred with irregularities and plagued with errors. The Malaysian Electoral Roll Analysis Project (Merap) continues to uncover and highlight discrepancies in the electoral roll. The latest revelation on 19 April 2013 disclosed that there were 900 voters with the name Fatimah binti Ibrahim in Kedah, Kelantan, Pahang and Terengganu. Of the 900, there are 14 pairs sharing the same birthdays. And of these 14 pairs, 10 were from the same state.

The Election Commission (EC) has also not responded adequately to freshly arising claims by voters that they have been registered without their knowledge and consent. Complaints are also being received by Bersih 2.0 from voters who have voted before who now say that they can no longer find their names on the EC's database of voters

Read more at: http://www.thenutgraph.com/not-enough-reforms-for-ge13/?wpmp_switcher=desktop 


Flights for voters ‘normal’, paid for by friends of BN, says Tengku Adnan

Posted: 02 May 2013 12:02 PM PDT


(TMI) - Umno acknowledged today the existence of flights ferrying voters to key states, but said it was part of the party's "get out the vote" campaign.

Party secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor also said the flights were paid for by "friends" of Barisan Nasional (BN), Reuters reported this evening.

He denied the accusation earlier today by Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim that the Election Commission (EC) and the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) were involved in an operation to transport more than 40,000 dubious voters from Sabah and Sarawak to key states in the peninsula.

Tengku Adnan said the flights were normal electoral practice.

"The flights in question were organised and paid for by friends of Barisan Nasional. They brought registered voters to their home districts so that they may vote in the upcoming election," he said in a statement reported by Reuters.

This evening, the Prime Minister's Office also denied any involvement in the opposition's claim that Malaysians, as well as, foreigners are being flown in to the peninsula to vote in Sunday's polls.

A government spokesman said that "the Prime Minister's office denies any involvement in these flights," the national news agency Bernama reported this evening.

Read more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/flights-for-voters-normal-paid-for-by-friends-of-bn-says-tengku-adnan/ 


Saiful took 2nd oath before Kaaba to prove sodomy claim

Posted: 02 May 2013 12:00 PM PDT


(Bernama) - "This is my last defence in continuing with my fight for truth," said Mohd Saiful, who was accompanied by his lawyer, Zamri Idrus, at the press conference.

Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan repeated his "sumpah laknat" (religious oath) before the Kaaba in Mecca last year, that he was telling the truth about being sodomised by Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) advisor Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim four years ago.

At a press conference here today, the former personal aide to Anwar showed a video recording of the "sumpah laknat" that he took in April last year in front of the Baitullah (House of Allah) while he was on umrah in the Holy Land.

"After one year I took the "sumpah laknat" in front of the Baitullah, nothing (bad) has happened to me, which proves that I was speaking the truth about being sodomised.

"This is my last defence in continuing with my fight for truth," said Mohd Saiful, who was accompanied by his lawyer, Zamri Idrus, at the press conference.

The 27-year-old first took the "sumpah laknat" over his sodomy claim at the Federal Territory Mosque in Jalan Duta, here, on Aug 15, 2008.

Mohd Saiful said his second oath (in Mecca) was to show to Muslims throughout the world that his sodomy claim was true and that he was not influenced by anyone to commit political conspiracy against Anwar as alleged by some quarters.

He said he took the first oath in 2008 on the suggestion of two religious figures, former Perlis mufti Datuk Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin and PAS spiritual leader Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat.

In fact, he said, he had also asked several religious figures on his intention to take the "sumpah laknat" in front of the Kaaba and was told that a serious disaster would befall him if he lied.

On Jan 9, 2012, Kuala Lumpur High Court judge Datuk Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah acquitted and discharged Anwar of allegedly sodomising Mohd Saiful at the Desa Damansara Condominium on June 26, 2008 as there were no strong evidence to support his testimony.

The case has been brought to the Court of Appeal which will in July, hear the prosecution's appeal against the High Court's decision.

Today, Mohd Saiful also expressed regret over Anwar's refusal until now to take the "sumpah laknat" to prove his innocence.

"Even when he had to make his defence against the sodomy charge in court, he refused to testify under oath," he said.

On his father Azlan Mohd Lazim's action yesterday to withdraw his statement made in March this year, claiming that his son had been used by certain quarters to fix Anwar, Mohd Saiful said his father had been influenced by PKR leaders to do that.  


Kredit: www.malaysia-today.net

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